Friday, March 15, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Useful Reader Comments to Genea-Musings Posts

It's Friday - when I post reader comments to Genea-Musings posts that are helpful and/or interesting, often with my own comments or explanations.

1)  On My RootsTech 2013 Checklist (14 March 2013):

*  John D. Tew said:  "Whew! After accomplishing all that you need to have on your list (at the bottom). Relax and veg out for three solid days upon return to San Diego!! ;-)"

*  Denise Levenick offered:  "Remember to take your vitamins and drink lots of water. Jamboree is less than 3 months away!"

*  Deb Brunt commented:  "Have you heard of the app "Tripit"? It is available (free for the basic version) for iPhone & iPad as well as PC. You forward all your confirmation emails to Tripit and it creates a trip for you so all of your travel documents are in one place. And you can manually add items to it as well."

My comments:  Thank you all for commiserating and encouraging, and thank you, Deb, for the Tripit lead.

2)  On Finding Genealogy Gems in Ancestry Member Trees (14 March 2013):

*  Tim Forsythe noted:  "I've also found some good sources on trees in Rootsweb's World Connect Project. It pays to go looking sometimes. I recently purchased an Ancestry DNA kit and needed an ancestry tree to connect it to, so I added a few generations to it so that Ancestry would be able to find close relatives based on DNA matches. I found that Ancestry's shakey leaf kept finding new sources based on the vital data I provided and their algorithms that search for people in similar trees. Pretty soon I was building up more and more generations just to see what it would find. It went pretty quickly and even though most of the sources I already had in my database, there were some new ones as well. I was also able to add several new ancestors to my daughter-in-law's tree. That being said, the hints they provide need to be analyzed thoroughly before accepting them. They suggest a lot of poor quality sources as well such as the "Family Data Collection" and the "Millennium File", which are really nothing more than large databases of unsourced family trees. Ancestry does allow you to turn off their Ancestor Trees from the hints, which was nice. Ancestry won't find every source, so a quick search is also useful. My take away is that Ancestry can automatically locate some very good sources for ancestors in matching trees with very little effort."

My comment:  Agreed on Rootsweb WorldConnect - it's where I point my beginning students to find leads for their ancestry because it's free and is a fairly large collection (and most of it is duplicated in Ancestry Member Trees).  When I did my study on "You don't even have to know what you're looking for" last year, I found that about 90% of the Hints that Ancestry offers are for the person of interest.  As Tim says, some of the databases are index collections that I don't waste my time on.  I can ignore them and find the more authoritative sources that are actual records.

3)  On Dear Randy - Two Names, Two Birth Records for One Child? Or Two? (11 March 2013):

*  Geolover noted:  "...your suggestions are good, but the seeker should also look into any surviving newspapers (was there announcement of twins born?), land and court records in addition to divorce proceedings.

"What if there were twins and the husband absconded with one of them? I can think of a scenario unrelated to the following.

"One of my cousins married in the 1830s and had a child. The husband abandoned them, went to another State and filed for divorce, which was granted. He returned and took away the child -- I have not had an opportunity to see whether there were Court records in the husband residence County and State regarding custody of the child. The marriage was not recorded, and births were not being recorded in the mother's home State at this time.

"My only clue to look for something about this woman's marriage was the 1880 US Census notation that she was divorced. Once my eyes were opened I was lucky to locate a report of a lawsuit by the taken child, claiming his now-deceased mother's land. She had conveyed it by deed and died intestate. The court decided that the conveyance was legitimate, and ruled against the plaintiff.  The proceedings commenced some 46 years after birth of this child, which is just a pointer to not confine a search to an immediate time period.  The court record has myriad sworn statements by relatives and neighbors as to relationships between the deceased mother, her sister and various nephews, which helped resolve another couple of issues on this family.

I certainly wish the seeker good hunting."

My comment:  Life can be much stranger than fiction, can't it?  Great detective work, a little luck and good court records solved your problem and added to your family history.  Excellent lessons for all of us.

*  Susan offered:  "Look up the entry, born March 3, 1861, to see if RCE appears in the left hand column.   

"You may occasionally come across a statutory image with a note in the margin ‘RCE’ and a reference number. RCE stands for Register of Corrected Entries. If, after an entry in a register had been completed, an error was discovered or some other amendment was required as a result of new information, the original entry could not be altered. Instead, each registrar kept a register of corrected entries in which such amendments were written, originally after they had been approved by a sheriff. Corrections to birth entries might be to name, residence, identity, or as a result of a sheriff’s finding in a paternity case, with the father’s name being added as directed by the sheriff, or as a result of an illegitimate child being legitimised by its parents’ subsequent marriage. Images of RCEs are now available on ScotlandsPeople. "

*  Dandelion responded:  "Thanks for the suggestion. I have the images from Scotland's People and I just checked both of them. I don't see anything in the left margins. 

"I also looked at the records for another set of twins born the same year in Fife. In the column for the mother’s information one says “Her 1st child.” and for the other “Her 2nd child.” Curiously one of those twins appears to be a third cousin once removed of Alison Naismith McIntyre Milne. 

"I seem to remember also seeing “(twin)” below the names of the children in some cases."

My comments:  Thank you, Susan, for the research tip about RCEs.  I'm glad that Dandelion followed up on it.  

4)  On What I Hope to Hear at RootsTech 2013 (11 March 2013):

*  Tessa wrote:  "Ah Randy, from your post to the Genealogy God's ear! I have been waiting patiently for Legacy Family Tree to upgrade their program - 
(1) hoping for more in the way of research manager type capabilities with good use of scoring (direct, indirect, quality, etc.) and being able to take the research you do and incorporate it easier (similar to RootsMagic - I thought that was a brilliant upgrade)
(2) a mobile app that syncs seamlessly
(3) a number of the fixes or suggestions that forum members have provided over the past two years taken to heart by Legacy rather than more bells and whistles - Legacy has plenty of those already."

*  Tamura Jones noted:  "Not much happens at RootsTech, and Ancestry sure isn't going to introduce FTM 2013 there.   You may recall that decided to not introduce FTM 2013 at all: Family Tree Maker 2013.

"Would not get my hopes up for a free app that works with Legacy 7 either. There is a commercial third-party app already, and Millennia may want to concentrate its efforts on Legacy 8, which may or may not include an app.

"Can't tell all I know. Do expect MyHeritage FTB 8 to be ready soon."

*  Geolover commented:  "Your call for "improved" interaction with FamilySearch-Family Tree on the part of 3rd-party software is premature. FamilySearch has not yet given the code to developers. Some 3rd-party software programs can interact with the new.FamilySearch tree, and FS is still migrating data between new.FamilySearch and FS-FamilyTree. Some of the impacts on FS-Family Tree adversely affect cleanup work done in FS-Family Tree.

"I was not aware that had any version of FTM that worked with new.FamilySearch."

*  Lisa Taisey said:  "GENI will be more user friendly toward the folks who joined when it was a FREE site! I was even willing to pay to become a member BUT they will NOT let you pay a monthly fee like Ancestry they will only accept ONE yearly charge and I can't afford that so No membership for me and unable to access my data there. Not customer friendly!"

*  Sven Ove-Westburg noted:  "My wish list.

"Will here be family tree database software where you can add references direct from the libraries catalog? I doubt that since then they can not follow Mills.

"Will some interface with a reference organizing software such as Zotero?

"An open API to the user trees on Ancestry.

"I would like to see someone start using Maridb or MySQL as their database. So the DB engine is separated from the genealogy program.

"I do not think Legacy will have a new version they may talk about it. They have a slot reserved at the SCGS Jamboree June 7."

My comments:  Thank you all for your comments and wish lists.  I threw in the FTM 2013 part to see if anyone was paying attention - they were!  Obviously, some people are more "tuned in" than I am to the genealogy companies and organizations. I appreciate their sharing what they can tell us without divulging confidences.  

*  Yvette Hoitink noted:  "Civil registration birth records in the Netherlands not only list the informant, they went a lot further: "Derk Jan Hoitink came to me and presented me with his male child called Hendrik". No kidding, the actual child had to be presented to the clerk to register the birth. Doesn't get any more primary than that. The requirement to present the child was not so good for infant mortality rates though, especially since you had to present the child within 3 days of the birth or face a large fine, so that requirement was dropped after a couple of years. To this day, you're still required to register the birth within three days, but at least you can leave the baby at home now if you have a declaration by the doctor or midwife."

My comment:  Thank you for the interesting "real life" registration requirement information...that certainly was "primary information!"

*  Mary Ellen Aube commented:  "I thought that the physician recorded the births in New England. I know that my mother was born in 1896 and the physician recorded her birth."

My response:  I think that the birth registration process changed over time from a "parent report" to a "midwife or doctor report" system.  Since most births before 1900 occurred at home, usually without a "doctor" present, the "parent report" system worked for a long time.  In 1823, when my Isaac Seaver was born in Westminster, Mass., there is no indication of a doctor report.  I do note that the Massachusetts marriage records after 1841 have a minister's name in the right-hand column, and my guess is that the minister reported the marriage to the town.

*  Gerry Sell commented:  "I'll bet the teacher was hired by the township for its public school, and was boarding (at township expense) at the Smith home. By the time 1880 rolled around she was probably married, but perhaps not."

My comment:  That is very logical, and is probably the correct interpretation to this puzzle.  I didn't even think of it.  Thank you!  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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